Tom Leighton

Tom Leighton


Tom Leighton is a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In September 1998, Prof. Leighton co-founded Akamai Technologies, the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online. Prof. Leighton serves as Akamai's Chief Scientist and as a member of Akamai's Board of Directors. Prof. Leighton's technology achievements at Akamai earned him recognition as one of the Top 10 Technology Innovators in U.S. News and World Report .

Prof. Leighton is one of the world's preeminent authorities on algorithms for network applications. He holds numerous patents involving content delivery, network protocols, algorithms, cryptography, and digital rights management, and has published more than 100 research papers in the areas of parallel algorithms and architectures, distributed computing, communication protocols for networks, combinatorial optimization, probabilistic methods, VLSI computation and design, sequential algorithms, and graph theory. He is also the author of two books, including a leading text on parallel algorithms and architectures.

During the course of his career, he has served on dozens of government, industrial, and academic review committees, program committees, and editorial boards. Prof. Leighton is the former two-term chair of the 2,000-member Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Complexity Theory (SIGACT); and a former two-term editor-in-chief of the Journal of the ACM, the nation's premier journal for computer science research. He is currently a member of the Editorial Boards of Algorithmica, ACM Transactions on Algorithms, Internet Mathematics and Combinatorica.

From 2003 to 2005, Prof. Leighton served as the Chairman of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) subcommittee on Cyber Security. In February of 2005, PITAC issued a report to the President entitiled " Cyber Security: A Crisis in Prioritization".

Prof. Leighton is a Fellow for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004, he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for contributions to the design of networks and circuits and for technology for Web content delivery and in 2006, he received the ACM-SIGACT Distinguished Service Prize. In 2008, he was elected member to the National Academy of Science.

In 2002, Prof. Leighton was recognized by his alma mater as Princeton University's seventh Gordon Wu Distinguished Lecturer. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton with a B.S. in Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT.


  • "Hypercubic Sorting Networks," SIAM J. Comput. Vol. 27, 1998, no.1, pp.1-47 (with C. G. Plaxton)
  • "Processor-Ring Communication: A Tight Asymptotic Bound on Packet Waiting Times," SIAM J. Comput.Vol. 27, 1998, no. 5, pp. 1221-1236 (with E. G. Coffman Jr. and N. Kahale).
  • ``Tight Analyses of Two Local Load Balancing Algorithms,'' SIAM J. Comput. Vol. 29, 1999, No. 1, pp. 29-64, (with B. Ghosh, B. Maggs, S. Muthukrishnan, G. Plaxton, R. Rajaraman, A. Richa, R. Tarjan, and D. Zuckerman).
  • "On the Fault Tolerance of Some Popular Bounded-Degree Networks," SIAM J. Comput.,Vol. 27, 1998, no. 5, pp.1303-1333 (with B. Maggs and R. Sitaraman).
  • "Automatic Methods for Hiding Latency in Parallel and Distributed Computation," SIAM J. Comput.,1999, Vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 615-647 (with M. Andrews, P. T. Metaxas, and L. Zhang).
  • "Reconstructing a three-dimensional model with arbitrary errors," J. ACM,1999, Vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 212-235 (with B. Berger and J. Kleinberg).
  • "Tight Bounds for On-Line Tree Embeddings," SIAM J. Comput.,1999, Vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 474-491 (with S. Bhatt, D. Greenberg, and P. Liu).
  • "Tight Analyses of Two Local Load Balancing Algorithms. SIAM J. Comput., Vol. 29, 1999, No. 1, pp. 29-64, (with B. Ghosh, B. Maggs, S. Muthukrishnan, C. G. Plaxton, R. Rajaraman, A. Richa, Robert E. Tarjan, and D. Zuckerman).
  • "Multicommodity max-flow min-cut theorems and their use in designing approximation algorithms," J. ACM,1999, Vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 787-832 (with S. Rao).
  • "Tight Bounds on the Size of Fault-Tolerant Merging and Sorting Networks with Destructive Faults," SIAM J. Comput.,2000, Vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 258-273 (with Y. Ma).
  • "Compression using efficient multicasting," J. Comput. Syst. Sci.,2001, Vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 127-145 (with M. Adler).
  • "General Dynamic Routing with Per-Packet Delay Guarantees of O(Distance + 1/Session Rate).," SIAM J. Comput.,2001, Vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 1594-1623 (with M. Andrews, A. Fernandez, M. Harchol-Balter, and L. Zhang).
  • "Universal-stability results and performance bounds for greedy contention-resolution protocols". JACM 48(1): 2001, pp. 39-69 (with M. Andrews, B. Awerbuch, A. Fernández, Z. Liu, J.M. Kleinberg:).
  • "New Algorithmic Aspects of the Local Lemma with Applications to Routing and Partitioning," SIAM J. Comput.,2001, Vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 626-641 (with C-J, Lu, S. Rao, and A. Srinivasan).
  • "Fractal Merkle Tree Representation and Traversal", RSA-CT conference, 2003 (with M. Jakobsson , S. Micali and M. Szydlo) .
  • "Consistent load balancing via spread minimization," Proc. of the thirty-fifth annual ACM symposium on Theory of computing,2003, pp. 565-574 (with R. Kleinberg).
  • "The Value of Knowing a Demand Curve: Bounds on Regret for Online Posted-Price Auctions," Proc. of the 44th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science,2003,p. 594 (with R. Kleinberg).
  • JACM 1991-1997, J. ACM, 2003, Vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 19-19.
  • "The Challenges of Delivering Content and Applications on the Internet," Proc. of the 14th International Workshop on Research Issues on Data Engineering: Web Services for E-Commerce and E-Government Applications (RIDE'04),2004, p. 65.
  • "Oblivious Routing on Node-Capacitated and Directed Graphs", in Proceedings of the 16th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 23-25, 2005, pp 782-790. (with M.T. Hajiaghayi; R.D. Kleinberg; and H. Raecke)
  • "Online Client-Server Load Balancing Without Global Information," in Proceedings of the 16th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA),Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 23-25, 2005, pp.197-206. (with B. Awerbuch; M.T. Hajiaghayi; and R.D. Kleinberg)
  • "Oblivious routing in directed graphs with random demands," ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), 2005, pp. 193-201 (with M.T. Hajiahgayi; J.H. Kim; and H. Raecke).


  • Massachusetts Academy of Science: Fellow (2013)
  • National Academy of Sciences: Member (2008)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory: Distinguished Service Prize (2006)
  • National Academy of Engineering: Member (2004)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Fellow (2003)
  • MIT: Entrepreneurship Award (2001)
  • Forbes Magazine: Technology's 100 Highest Rollers (2001)
  • Mass: High Tech Award (2000)
  • US News: Top 10 Technology Innovators (2000)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Babbage Award (2000)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Best Paper Award (Image and Multimedimensional Signal (1999)